Entertainment

Working-mother-shaming taken to a whole new level: Schneller

Ten Days in the Valley features a stressed-out mom whose daughter has gone missing.

Jane (Kyra Sedgwick) just can't catch a break, writes Johanna Schneller.

Contributed

Jane (Kyra Sedgwick) just can't catch a break, writes Johanna Schneller.

The Show: Ten Days in the Valley, Season 1, Episode 1 (CTV)

The Moment: Mother of the year

Jane (Kyra Sedgwick) is stressed: She has young daughter; a problematic ex, Pete (Kick Gurry); and a demanding job as the showrunner of a TV cop drama. Now her daughter is missing. She’s sure Pete took her in the night, while she was working.

Her show is calling, insistently. Jane explains to the cops why she must go in: “A month ago, I lost five days to court orders, and it cost production $200,000.”

At work, one of Jane’s writing staff, Matt (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), needles her: “It’s kinda tricky when you’re not in the room.”

“I’m always in the room,” she shoots back.

“I just mean this morning,” he says, digging the knife in. “We all got here at 7 — like you asked.”

Back home, Pete accuses Jane of neglecting their daughter: “Let me guess, you were in your writing shed, bottle of wine — real Mother of the Year stuff.”

Every working mother will recognize the universality of Jane’s situation — no matter how fast you run, you’re always failing at something. That feeling of, as Jane puts it, “I cannot juggle one more egg.”

Here, Canadian-born showrunner Tassie Cameron takes working-mother-shaming to its nightmare endpoint: You’re so overextended that you actually lost your child.

Victim blaming is a trendy subject right now, and Cameron hits the zeitgeist bull’s-eye. She gives Jane a few juicy flaws (including a fondness for late-hour amphetamines), and a chorus of people who shake their heads and suggest that if she were a better mother/boss/writer/sister/wife, this might not be happening to her.

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